Monday, 24 February 2020

Windows 10 search broken after in place upgrade

I had this scenario last week and it was difficult to find the solution. After an in place upgrade from Windows 10 v1709 to v1809 (using a ConfigMgr in place upgrade task sequence) the search function was broken. I couldn't even type anything to search. I couldn't find anything similar online so I was a little stuck. Although there was an easy fix I needed to be able to apply it programatically.

The fix was to reset the Cortana app but I couldn't do this programatically in the task sequence. 
  • the issue only occurred during in place task sequences (1709 -> 1809). It did not happen for bare metal builds.
  • it only happened with existing profiles on a machine. New profiles were fine.
  • the 1809 wim had the latest SSU and CU.
At first I thought it couldn’t be a group policy problem as it only affected in place upgrades. However then I noticed that it only happened with existing profiles and that made more sense. I tested with an OU blocked for inheritance and the issue didn't occur so I waded through all the customer GPOs.

The issue was solved by reverting these two settings that the customer had disabled: 

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Regional and Language Options\Allow users to enable online speech recognition services

Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Search\Allow Cortana

I hope this helps someone else who encounters the same issue. Until next time....

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Windows 10 v1909 and language packs - my experience

I've been working with Windows 10 v1909 and language packs for the first time this week. This used to be pretty easy with 1809 and Microsoft Endpoint Manager (formerly ConfigMgr or SCCM) but it's not so easy any more.

  • Download the ISO matching the Windows version
  • Extract the CAB files
  • Install the one you want in the task sequence (dism.exe /norestart /online /add-package /
  • Apply regional settings with an xml file (e.e. rundll32.exe shell32,Control_RunDLL intl.cpl,,/f:"English_UK.xml")
What do we do now with v1909? I can see that 1909 has nothing new so we use the 1903 media, but which one? As well as the LXP files we can still download the .cab files as before. They are included in the Windows 10 version 1903 Language Packs (released May 2019) 32/64 MultiLanguage ISO (5852MB).

Tip: choose MultiLanguage as the language using the drop down menu.

I downloaded this ISO, extracted the cab files and organized them in folders (in the same way I had done for 1809, making sure that the files had the same name). Then I created packages (without programs) using these folders as source files. I "figured" that I just had to replace these packages in my existing 1809 task sequence and all would be good.

However it wasn't. In my testing, this breaks the search function and messes up some dialog on the regional settings

The search bar wouldn't work at all. I couldn't even type in it. That was a showstopper straight away. 

Also the regional settings contained a lot of garbage.

I did some research and others seemed to be having similar problems with no real resolution. 

Eventually I got this working by adding a step in the task sequence to install the January 2020 CU for 1909 before installing the language pack. 


Search bar now working......

....and this is how the Regional settings should look.

I hope this helps you if you encounter the same problem. Until next time.....